The bunk house is where all the ranch hands live. From Steinbeck's description, the bunk house is not a cheerful domestic space, but rather spare and dull, with whitewashed walls and an unvarnished floor. There are beds, a place for the men to clean up and shave, and a table at which they can gamble and talk.
This is not a refuge from the toil of work on the ranch. Rather, it is a dreary reminder of how the men are metaphorically imprisoned by their lot. Though the ranch hands live in the bunk house, it is not truly a home where they can find security and true belonging, such as the little farm George and Lennie dream of one day owning.
Steinbeck also mentions a collection of "Western magazines ranch men love to read and scoff at and secretly believe" inside the bunk house. This is a significant insight into the men's lives, not because it shows the reader what kind of stories entertain them, but because it gives the reader a glimpse into the men's hopes. Western stories have always...
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